Friday, May 27, 2011

Momofuku's Duck Bar Extraordinaire

Duck perfection
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. This is especially true with David Chang's weekday lunch-only duck homage at Momofuku Ssam Bar. All of the action - from ordering to prep - takes place in the back room, the former Milk Bar (don't panic -Milk Bar has conveniently moved directly across the street).

No ordinary sandwich
Order at the counter. First timers, there is only one way to go: duck over rice ($14) with chive pancake ($2). It's a rich, sexy masterpiece.

If two are willing to share, also get the duck sandwich ($12) - a sort of 'Chang' mi, with layers of duck ham, mortadella and duck mousse.

Then sit back, facing the chef, and be seduced by the theatre on display.

The star attraction
It's all happening before wide eyes and drooling mouths. Worship the glistening stars, local Crescent Farms ducks slowly browning to perfection in the Rotisol rotisserie. A cage of fingerling potatoes is just underneath the breasts, basting in a steady, strategic stream of duck fat.

While you watch your meal artfully be prepared, nibble on crunchy pink pickled radishes ($6) and check out what others are eating. It's a communal pleasure. It's also dangerous.

My sister visiting from Chicago and I struck up a conversation with another solo diner, who was equally excited about trying the new menu. Once he saw our order of duck with rice, and how we gushed over each mouthful, he finished his sandwich and ordered a second lunch. I would have done the same.

The famous steamed pork buns ($10) are still on the short lunch menu, but seriously, go for the duck, even if you think you don't like duck. And experiment with the exceptional tableside condiments: addictive seasoned duck fat (go on, add more), chili sauces, hoisin and fried garlic.

Any questions? Ask the incredibly friendly and informed staff. It was obvious how excited they are about the new service. One of them quipped that the condiments alone are so good, you can make a meal out of them. Agreed.

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 Second Ave at 13th St
Duck lunch served Mon - Fri, 11:30 am - 3:30 pm
Weekday lunch entrance on 13th St.
212 254 3500

Momofuku Milk Bar
251  E 13th St. (between First/Second Aves.)

Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

DC's Ultimate Power Brunch

Springtime in my native Washington, DC, is gorgeous and a perfect excuse for a weekend getaway to the nation's capital. Plus, world-class museums are free, downtown is walkable and iconic photo ops are everywhere.

While there, it's worth splurging on one of DC's most sophisticated Sunday brunches in the Lafayette Room at the Hay-Adams hotel.

Just steps from the White House (and briefly home to President Obama in the weeks before taking office), this historic landmark oozes power and elegance. And serves an equally refined Sunday brunch buffet.

On three special occasion during the year - Easter, Mother's Day and Christmas Day - brunch takes place on the recently renovated hotel rooftop. The views are breathtaking and some of the best anywhere in DC, so plan ahead and bring a camera.

Expect to be seduced by a luxurious selection of sweet and savory dishes. Chef Peter Schaffrath's signature cranberry focaccia French toast is not to be missed. Coated in crispy corn flakes, it is one guilty pleasure. So is the eggs Benedict. Seafood dishes abound with the likes of seasoned crab cakes, lobster and fennel salad, shrimp tempura and snow crab claws. Carnivores will feast on classic beef and lamb roasts, thick cut bacon and Virginia pork sausage.

Of course, save room for dessert. Much of it is petitely portioned, so sample away. The pistachio creme brulee was a beautiful twist on a classic. The chocolate mousse martini was as fun to eat as it was to look at. Follow it all with a long afternoon stroll along the National Mall.

16th + H Streets, NW
Sunday brunch 11:30 am - 2 pm
$65 per person
dining reservations 202 638 2570


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bottomless Ribs

All-u-can-eat ribs await

Hurry! Only three more Wednesdays are left to enjoy RUB's $25.95 all-you-can-eat ribs special. The Chelsea BBQ joint's sixth anniversary deal comes with two sides and unlimited sodas each Wednesday through May.

What a deal.

Slabs of St. Louis cut (the bigger, meatier sparerib) or baby back ribs (the smaller and leaner cut) are accompanied by heaping servings of delicious sides. Try the seasoned thin onion strings that melt in your mouth, or tangy greens with pork. The interior is nothing to write home about but the service more than makes up for it. Staff is accommodating and they keep it coming until you're ready to explode. 

But don't do that. Save yourself for the the Secret Monday Night-only burger special, which I hear is amazing and first come, first served.   

208 W 23rd St (between 7/8th Aves)
212 524 4303

Rub BBQ on Urbanspoon